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[254] substantial success. He had primarily obtained the good will and cooperation of the provisional governor. He next agreed with him to transfer all causes for court action to the State tribunals, if they simply would admit in them the testimony of negroes. The judges, urged and advised by the governor, in nearly the whole of Alabama gave up their opposition and yielded recognition and decided to accept the jurisdiction. Very promptly I approved of Swayne's entire proposition, believing that we could thus test the disposition of the judicial functionaries as to their willingness to do justice to the freedmen; and so the experiment began with fair success in that State. All officers and agents of the Bureau available were instructed to act as advocates of the freedmen in these courts; and the right to withdraw Government recognition from the courts was kept in the hands of the assistant commissioner.

As soon as our action was known to the country, many of the negroes' pronounced friends, and among them Wendell Phillips, severely condemned my action. “Howard has put the freedmen into the jaws of the tiger,” he cried. But the ready answer which I gave was: “Justice in time will work itself clear. It is a long step gained to secure the negro's testimony in the Southern courts.” Excellent reports soon came from nearly every quarter of Alabama. There were, however, a few exceptions on the borders of Tennessee and Georgia.

A similar course was tried in Mississippi, but the results, owing to the strong indigenous prejudice against negroes as witnesses, were not very encouraging. In Louisiana suits and testimonies were quickly allowed under the State government, and the civil

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